Amongst the high officials of the Umayyad, no one has acquired more fame than Hajjaj bin Yusuf. However, this fame was not acquired because of his generosity, but from his oppression. The tyranny of Hajjaj has become very famous in history.
The Umayyad was badly shaken after the death of Yazid bin Muawiyya, but it was Hajjaj who took over from this falling empire and strengthened them. The greatest threat to this empire was from Abdullah bin Zubair who was based in Makkah but his rule extended to the border of Syria . Hajjaj with his oppression laid siege to Makkah and killed Abdullah bin Zubair without any mercy on him.
Hajjaj alone executed 125,000 men. He beheaded leaders like Sa'id bin Zubair. He put prominent scholars like Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Zubair (Allah be pleased with them) to death. Before being executing, Sa'id bin Zubair told him that now you will not be able to set out for anyone. On the saying of this by Said bin Zubair, Hajjaj bin Yusuf passed away within fifteen nights. Even the learned and the peaceful men of that era looked upon Hajjaj as a calamity and curse sent down by God.
Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) used to say, “Hajjaj is a calamity sent by God, do not try to remove him by force but ask Allah Taa'la.” Therefore, the moment the news of the death of Hajjaj was reported Hadhrat Hasan Basri and Umar bin Abdul Aziz fell in prostration to God and exclaimed,” The pharaoh of this nation is no more!
Let as now see how this tyrant ruler faced death
After twenty years of rule over Iraq , Hajjaj fell ill at the age of fifty-four. His stomach was infested by innumerable vermin. The temperature of his body decreased and he felt so intensely cold that several stoves were place close to him and yet he gained no relief.
When Hajjaj has lost all hopes of survival, he said to the members of his household, “Prop me up and assemble the people.” When the people arrived, he pleaded guilty to his sins and tyrannies. He gave a speech and emphasised on the fact that of which he dwelt on death and its severities.
The following verses came to his tongue:
The weight of my sins is as the weight of sky and earth,
Yet I hope that God will show me mercy.
If he favours me with his pleasure,
It will be the fulfilment of my hop.
But should he do justice,
He would condemn me to torture.
It will be no injustice.
Is it possible that He will be unjust from whom nothing but God is anticipated!
He then burst into tears and this scene moved in the whole assembly to tears.
As Hajjaj bin Yusuf was passing away, he raised his tearful eyes to heaven, pleading:
“O Allah! Grant me salvation, for people say you will not forgive me.”
He then recited the following verse:
“Lord! The people give me no hope,
Though I repose much hope in you”.
So saying this he closed his eyes. When this saying was quoted before Hazrat Hasan Basri (Radhiallaho Anho), he did not believe this and asked: “Did he really say this?” “Yes, Hajjaj actually said so.” Thereupon Hadhrat Hasan Basri said, “Then perhaps he may be forgiven.”